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The True History Of The International Women’s Day

While many people believe that the International Women’s Day was set to commemorate the death of women factory laborers, we have found the true story behind the global day for women’s rights.

Yesterday the world celebrate the International Women’s Day, a global celebration commemorating the worldwide struggle of women for equality and rights.

While celebratory and women empowering posts filled social media feeds all over the world, one story in particular stood out as the true history and reason of the women’s day. The story said that the celebration commemorate the death of 146 young women workers during a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York, USA, on 25 March, 1911. As tragic as the fire was, it was not the true reason behind the day.

One of the earliest modern Women’s Day was actually held two years before the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, on February 28 in 1909, in New York, and was organised by the Socialist Party of America.

A year later, in August 1910, during an International Women’s Conference preceding the general meeting of the Socialist Second International in Copenhagen, Denmark, German Socialist Luise Zietz proposed the establishment of an annual International Woman’s Day. The proposal was popular with fellow socialists and communists, and the first International Woman’s Day was celebrated the year after, on March 19.

Hundreds of thousands of people in European countries, including Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, took it to the streets and protested sexism and discrimination against women.

However, the March 8 Women’s Day celebration as we know actually originated in Russia with the start of the Russian Revolution.

Women's demonstration for bread and peace - March the 8th, 1917, Petrograd, Russia - Wikimedia

Women’s demonstration for bread and peace on March 8, 1917, Petrograd, Russia – Wikimedia

On March 8, 1917, one hundred years ago, women textile workers staged mass demonstrations in the capital of the Russian Empire, Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg), marking of the earliest events of the revolution that lead to the dismantle of the Tsarist autocracy and the eventual rise of the Soviet Union.

A week after the protests, a series of events lead to the abdication of Nicholas II, the Emperor of Russia, and women were given the right to vote. Same year, March 8 was declared a national holiday in Soviet Russia.

After 1917, International Women’s Day was predominantly celebrate by socialist movements all over the world, as well as in communist countries, until it was adopted by the United Nations in 1975.

Today, International Women’s Day is celebrated all over the world, and has become reminder of the struggle women had to go through to be given their civic, social and political rights.

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